Ophelia

Ophelia

Ophelia

How does a drag queen get ready for a show?

Sarah Silbiger

How does a drag queen prepare for a show? Do they listen to loud club music, sip drinks or maybe even pound shots? Are costumes and glitter strewn across the floor? This may be true for some queens, but not for Sam Mount. During Mount’s preparation ritual, soft electronic music plays from a small speaker as he concentrates on applying just the right amount of Elmer’s glue to his eyebrows and transforms into Miss Ophelia Up, his drag alter ego.

In the hours before Machine Nightclub’s Monday Drag All Star competition, a scene resembling the preparation of a normal workday unfolds. When Mount isn’t performing as Miss Ophelia Up, he attends Northeastern University. “As far as I know I’m the only chemical engineer drag queen,” he jokes.

Sam Mount, 22, of Boston Massachusetts, begins his transformation into Ophelia Up, his drag queen alter ego.

Sam Mount, 22, of Boston Massachusetts, begins his transformation into Ophelia Up, his drag queen alter ego.

After applying five layers of Elmer’s glue to his natural eyebrows, Mount paints on more expressive eyebrows. Despite his best efforts, he decides that his eyebrows look like “cousins, not sisters.”

After applying five layers of Elmer’s glue to his natural eyebrows, Mount paints on more expressive eyebrows. Despite his best efforts, he decides that his eyebrows look like “cousins, not sisters.”

Mount adjusts four layers of pantyhose over homemade foam pads.

Mount adjusts four layers of pantyhose over homemade foam pads.

Since joining the Boston drag scene this summer, Mount has performed in several competitions, though he has yet to win one, at a popular gay club located in the Fenway area. However, he did mention he was the winner of a pork rind-eating contest held after his first competition. As a new member of the community, Mount says he has yet to form close relationships with other queens within the scene, so instead turns to YouTube tutorials and RuPaul’s Drag Race for advice and inspiration.

He explains that drag queens often add foam or other varieties of stuffing to areas that lack curves, such as the butt, hips and thighs.

He explains that drag queens often add foam or other varieties of stuffing to areas that lack curves, such as the butt, hips and thighs.

As his friends trickle into his Mission Hill loft, Mount tries on different wigs from his collection. He spends several minutes trying on each of his wigs and gathers input from him friends before settling on one.

As his friends trickle into his Mission Hill loft, Mount tries on different wigs from his collection. He spends several minutes trying on each of his wigs and gathers input from him friends before settling on one.

Mount’s boyfriend, James Richardson, 24, of Boston, inspects the handiwork on his partner’s dress. Mount hemmed his dress down from a women’s size 24 to fit his masculine frame. he describes his apparel as a “Frankenstein dress.

Mount’s boyfriend, James Richardson, 24, of Boston, inspects the handiwork on his partner’s dress. Mount hemmed his dress down from a women’s size 24 to fit his masculine frame. he describes his apparel as a “Frankenstein dress.

Though this night concluded with another loss, Mount gave no indication of disappointment at the outcome, but rather was motivated to delve deeper into the drag scene he yearns to be accepted into.

At nearly seven feet tall with heels, Ophelia towers over boyfriend James Richardson as they dance in Machine Nightclub before her performance.

At nearly seven feet tall with heels, Ophelia towers over boyfriend James Richardson as they dance in Machine Nightclub before her performance.

Ophelia poses for a selfie with a Machine Nightclub bartender.

Ophelia poses for a selfie with a Machine Nightclub bartender.

Rather than socialize with the other drag queens in the club’s dressing room, Ophelia opts for a moment outside with friends Tori Baisden, 22, left, and Hannah Lifshutz, 23. She opts to sip on a Red Bull rather than an alcoholic beverage after a recent decision to live a sober lifestyle.

Rather than socialize with the other drag queens in the club’s dressing room, Ophelia opts for a moment outside with friends Tori Baisden, 22, left, and Hannah Lifshutz, 23. She opts to sip on a Red Bull rather than an alcoholic beverage after a recent decision to live a sober lifestyle.

Ophelia takes a moment for herself outside the club to listen to the song she plans to perform later that evening.

Ophelia takes a moment for herself outside the club to listen to the song she plans to perform later that evening.

Mount’s inspiration for the performance was to contrast an innocent costume with the graphic, lewd lyrics of Akinyele’s song “Put it in my Mouth.”

Mount’s inspiration for the performance was to contrast an innocent costume with the graphic, lewd lyrics of Akinyele’s song “Put it in my Mouth.”

Ophelia Up transforms from an unassuming electrical engineer to drag queen to compete in drag competitions at Machine Nightclub on Boylston Street in Boston, Massachusetts.

Ophelia Up transforms from an unassuming electrical engineer to drag queen to compete in drag competitions at Machine Nightclub on Boylston Street in Boston, Massachusetts.

Evolution of "Beauty"

Evolution of "Beauty"

Hey Ladies! Do it for you!

Hey Ladies! Do it for you!